SAN JOSE –- Timo Meier is realistic. Despite being the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, the 18-year-old knows he’s facing long odds to make the opening night roster. The Sharks only have one or two openings for forward jobs, and Meier isn’t likely to fill one of those vacancies.
But he’s still in camp with just 11 days to go until the regular season, and on a line with fellow first rounder Nikolay Goldobin and center Ben Smith on Friday night vs. Arizona, Meier was a noticeable player in San Jose’s 3-1 preseason win. Although he didn’t get on the score sheet in a little more than 13 minutes of ice time, Meier recorded two shots on goal (and five attempts), as well as five hits, tying teammate Mike Brown for the game high.
That Meier has offensive skill is undeniable, after he finished tied for fifth in goals in the QMJHL last season with 44, and tied for 11th in points (90), but the big six-foot-one, 210-pound left wing has also showcased a real physicality to his game, too. It all makes him perhaps the organization’s top prospect.
“For a kid he’s a powerful guy,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go on the ice and play a power game against these guys, some of them are 10-15 years older than him. That’s a pretty special quality. He’s just going to get better and better as he gets older and more mature.”
Meier said: “I’m a big guy so I like to use my size and obviously bring some physicality to the table. I’m just trying to be physical out there and play a power game -– having a couple good hits and getting into the game.”
Meier, who signed a three-year entry-level contract on July 8, is rooming with Goldobin during camp. Last year, it was the young Russian who opened eyes in camp with his natural, raw ability, and the Sharks kept Goldobin around until early October before assigning him to the Finnish league.
“He’s a great guy, funny guy,” Meier said, moments after Goldobin jokingly interrupted his media scrum. “He’s been through last year in his first camp. We talk a lot. It’s just fun being here and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
“I’m trying to use every opportunity I get and just work hard. I want to take care of the process, and if I work hard I know I’ll get paid off for it. Just trying to take it day by day.”
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The Sharks have gone 4-for-7 on the power play in their last two preseason games, picking up where they left off when they finished sixth in the NHL last season.
DeBoer, though, already expects that power play to again be one of the league’s best. What he would like to see throughout the preseason is improved five-on-five play and penalty killing, the two main areas of their game that the Sharks struggled mightily with last season.
“We know we’ve got a good power play,” DeBoer said. “My concentration is on the rest of the game right now. Penalty killing, five-on-five, playing both ends…we’re making progress.”
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It appears that Martin Jones will get his first home start on Saturday when the Sharks host Anaheim. He’ll be backed up by future Barracuda Aaron Dell.
At forward the Sharks are listing Patrick Marleau, John McCarthy, Mike Brown, Ben Smith, Frazer McLaren, Joonas Donskoi, Timo Meier, Micheal Haley, Logan Couture, Ryan Carpenter, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto and Barclay Goodrow.
On defense it’s Karl Stollery, Paul Martin, Mirco Mueller, Gus Young, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson and Brent Burns.
The Sharks will likely scratch two forwards and one defenseman among the players listed above.
The Sharks' preseason roster stands at 37. More roster cuts are likely before Tuesday's preseason game vs. Vancouver.